Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Greece leads the world

At least that is what Anthony Barnett and Mary Kaldor think in their gushing panegyric for the latest Papandreou to head the government of Greece. I thought their praise a little overdone until I read this,
We have direct experience of one small part of the learning process that lies behind Papandreou’s strategy. We have worked with many others in the ‘Symi Symposium’ that Papandreou initiated 12 years ago. Named after the Aegean island on which the first seminar was held, these informal workshops began as a joint initiative of the Andreas Papandreou and Olaf Palme institutes, as a way of exchanging views on the future of the left. Every year since then Papandreou has hosted these gatherings on a different Mediterranean island, bringing together leading global academics, activists and policy makers to debate how to achieve a better world.
Ah. I would be falling over myself to please anyone who would whisk me away to a Greek island every year to talk about what I like to talk about.

Cynicism aside, you have to wish success for a country that deserves better than what has been served up by successive governments. Welcome too is any attempt to lift European social democracy out of Third Way capitulation to the powerful, especially in the context of the twin assault of financial and ecological crises. I just wonder about how much we should place our hopes in an enlightened technocratic elite rather than the long hard work of building up social movements.

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